SHAFAQNA- Fasting has many benefits such as punctuality, patience, contentment and many others that unless one fasts cannot really realize them. It gives the servants of Allah (SWT) a training in discipline, self-control, unquestioned obedience to God. It cultivates self-denial in Man so that he may be able to understand the problems facing the community and society.
The One God prescribes fasting for the faithful; and it has many benefits:
– Material pleasures can be generalised into food and drink and vanity. Fasting requires abstaining from these, going against the natural instinct of Man to observe the commandment of God. This builds and strengthens a person’s self-control, nearing them to their Creator.
– Fasting instills patience, teaches self-control and discipline.
– Fasting increases compassion for the less fortunate.
– Fasting builds focus on spirituality and diminishes focus on materialism.
– Fasting has many health benefits.
– Fasting can be atonement for sin and can earn great reward.
– Fasting is part of a strong spiritual and physical renewal plan.
– Fasting commemorates important sacred religious events.
– Accessing the mysteries: Imam Ali (A.S) said:
“God has placed five effects in five things: Respect in obedience, abjection in disobedience, wisdom and knowledge in hunger, solemnity in the night prayer, and richness in contentment.”
– Banishing Satan: once the Prophet (PBUH) asked his companions, “Do you want me to tell you of an act that if you act upon it will distance Satan from you, the way the east is distant from the west?” When they all showed interest, he mentioned three acts: Loving for the sake of God, giving charity, and fasting were tools to defeat Satan. As the Prophet (PBUH) said, “Fasting is a shield against the hellfire.”
– Attracting God’s mercy and love: according the Prophet (PBUH), God likes it when people lessen their speech, food intake, and sleep and dislikes over-eating, over-sleeping, and excessive talking. The Prophet also said there is nothing more detested by God than a full stomach.
Normally, during the Month of Ramadhan, we are more likely to succeed in repenting, purifying ourselves, helping others, and being patient, as these are acts that earns us God’s love. It does not come as a surprise then that God appoints a group of angels to take care of those who fast.
Imam Sadiq (A.S) said:
“He who fasts in the warmth of the day for the sake of God and bears thirst and hunger, God appoints a thousand angels to touch him with love and give him glad tidings that when he breaks his fast God will tell him how he looks and smells. My angels! Be witnesses that I have forgiven him.”
On another occasion, Imam Sadiq (A.S) said:
“There are two moments of joy for a fasting person: one is when [the day finishes and] he breaks his fast and the other when he meets his Lord.”
– Abundant reward: the reward one achieves because of fasting is so big that it cannot be compared to the difficulty he experiences when avoiding his desires for short moment. The reward given for fasting is more than that of other acts of worship. According to a Hadith Qudsi (Divine Saying):
“Every righteous act is rewarded ten times or a hundred times more except for fasting which is Mine (God) and I will be its reward.”
Fasting is also the best example of patience. Imam Sadiq (A.S) interpreted the term patience in the verse 2:45 as fasting. When patience is interpreted as fasting, the reward appointed for it is given for fasting as well:
“Indeed the patient will be paid in full their reward without any reckoning.” Quran (39:10)
Although our entire existence is from God and it is only with his help that we can fast, still God is extremely loving and fasting is so special that for every breath a person takes in the month of fasting and for every moment of his sleep he will be rewarded. The Prophet (PBUH) said:
“He who fasts a day voluntarily, even if he is given gold as much as this world, still he has not received his reward completely, and it will only be completed on the Day of Judgement.”
-Laws and practices: what is the fast of the Month of Ramadhan, compiled by un known
-The Merits of Fasting and the Month of Ramadhan, Mohammad Ali Shomali
-Fasting and the Holy Month of Ramadhan, Mansour Leghaei
– Fast , Seyyed Sa’eed Akhtar Rizvi
-God’s Mercy through Fasting, Hussain Ansariyan